Clara is given an enchanted Nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. As midnight strikes, she creeps downstairs to find a magical adventure awaiting her and her Nutcracker.
The magician Drosselmeyer transforms the drawing room for a battle between mice and toy soldiers. During the battle, Clara saves the Nutcracker's life - so breaking a magical spell that turned him from a boy to a toy - and the Mouse King is defeated. In celebration, Drosselmeyer sweeps Clara and the Nutcracker off to the Kingdom of Sweets, where they meet the Sugar Plum Fairy and take part in a wonderful display of dances. The next morning, Clara's adventures seem to have been more than just a dream.
Peter Wright's interpretation of The Nutcracker has been enchanting children and adults alike since its first performance by The Royal Ballet in 1984. Lev Ivanov's 1892 ballet combined with Tchaikovsky's sumptuous, iconic score are presented in a festive period setting with vivid designs to make this a charming and magical production.
Loosely based on the story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, the ballet begins in the 19th-century German home of the Stahlbaums, where they are hosting a lively Christmas party. The period setting is captured in opulent detail by Julia Trevelyan Oman's designs, which include authentic Christmas tree decorations that are magically brought to life. Wright's choreography ingeniously incorporates surviving fragments of the ballet's original material, including the sublime pas de deux for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince. But in emphasizing the relationship between Clara and the Nutcracker, the production also gains a touching subtext of first love.
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The Nutcracker (Russian: Щелкунчик, Балет-феерия / Shchelkunchik, Balet-feyeriya; French: Casse-Noisette, ballet-féerie) is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (op. 71). The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by way of Alexander Dumas' adapted story 'The Nutcracker'. It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sunday, December 18, 1892, on a double-bill with Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta. Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the late 1960s, and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in North America. Major American ballet companies generate around 40 percent of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky's score has become one of his most famous compositions, in particular the pieces featured in the suite. Among other things, the score is noted for its use of the celesta, an instrument that the composer had already employed in his much lesser known symphonic ballad The Voyevoda.